DETROIT (WXYZ) - Mary Johnson-Lawrence, 87, and her husband Charles never imagined the terror they faced Wednesday night.
"I didn't think we'd be here today," says Charles Lawrence.
His wife Mary says, "I didn't either."
A masked gunman stormed his way into their west side home just as Mrs. Lawrence walked into the house from church around 8:30 p.m.
"He was right behind her. I didn't even get a chance to close the door. He had the gun pointed at me. He told me to get down on the floor and then he told her to get down on the floor," says Charles Lawrence.
The gunman told them he was desperate and took them to the basement.
He left Mr. Lawrence there and took Mrs. Lawrence upstairs, ransacked the room and took her jewelry.
He even got the rings off of the elderly couple's fingers.
Then they heard a knock at the front door.
What the Lawrences didn't realize is that their neighbor had called police. That neighbor was taking out the trash when the gunman stormed into the Lawrences' home. After seeing that, he called 9-1-1.
"I didn't know it was the police. He (the gunman) told me to get get on the floor.
He said stay down, stay down and then he started stayin' down," says Mrs. Lawrence.
They say the gunman wanted to jump out the window and escape, but changed his mind when he saw cops had surrounded the house.
"He kept saying 'I'm not gonna harm you', but I didn't believe him," says Charles Lawrence.
With Detroit police working to get the gunman out of the house, the couple says he made some phone calls.
"I think he called his mother three times and each time he would start crying," says Charles Lawrence.
Around 11 p.m. the gunman surrendered.
The pair is grateful they weren't hurt and they also have gratitude for that caring neighbor who made all the difference.
"I'm gonna thank him and hug him," says Mary Johnson-Lawrence.
"I'm gonna hug him too because he saved our lives," says Charles Lawrence.
Detroit Police say the gunman remains in custody. He is 27 years old.D
7 Action News contacted the neighbor who called 9-1-1. He did not want to do an interview, but says he doesn't think he's a hero. He said he was just looking out for his neighbors.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.